Photo Essay: Margaret Island, Bizarre and Beautiful

Margaret Island, also known as pearl on the Danube is a green oasis that splits the Danube halfway between Pest and Buda. It’s an unusual place with a unique history and is full of musical fountains, medieval ruins, an art nouveau water tower, a water park, and even a strange petting zoo.

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The island was first inhabited in the 12th century as a religious settlement and was filled with convents and churches. It was named after Princess Margaret, daughter of the Hungarian King (Béla IV of Hungary) who ruled during the mid 1200s.

During the Ottoman invasion of Budapest in the 16th century, the religious buildings were nearly all destroyed and left in ruins.

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At the beginning of the 1800s, the island became a summer residence for Hungarian royalty and a landscaping project transformed the space into a park with gardens, trees, and walkways.

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In 1908 Margaret Island was declared a public park and open to the general public. A musical well, a water tower, and a fountain in which the water intensity is determined by the music playing were built soon after.

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Today the island is a recreational getaway from the busy city streets and is full of locals (especially families) enjoying the scenery, reading a book, relaxing or even exercising.

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There is something here for everyone, and even after spending a full day I didn’t see it all. The amount of green space in Budapest is one of the many reasons I would love to call this magical city home but Margaret Island is something else entirely. It isn’t just a park, it feels like a different world.

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What do you think? Does Margaret Island sound like an interesting place to visit?

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